El-Degas strat copy I am interested in buying

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Emmsys
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El-Degas strat copy I am interested in buying

Post by Emmsys » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:53 pm

Hi,

I already have a MIJ El Degas LP custom (3 HB), and there is an El degas strat copy for sale locally. It has a headstock similar to Ibanez (sharp rather than round like a Fender), it is HSS, and has a switch to make the humbucker a single coil. Looks to be in excellent shape.It also has a tremolo. It is most likely MIK and made of plywood. Anyone play or have anything similar? Are they decent guitars for strictly basement/bedroom playing (I play guitar as a hobby abd have been playing for about a year). I can get it for $120 CDN. I love my LP (with Stewmac Golden age pups) and hoping to get a super strat to tinker with. What do you think? Thanks!

Emmsys

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charles
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Re: El-Degas strat copy I am interested in buying

Post by charles » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:22 pm

It's impossible to vouch for the quality of any of these guitars, really - even the later-model MIK's are 30 years old. Definitely try to get your hands on it and try it out in-person.

The MIK strat models are likely plywood as you have pointed out, but it could still be a great player. Best of luck!

Emmsys
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Re: El-Degas strat copy I am interested in buying

Post by Emmsys » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:04 pm

Hi,

Thanks for the quick response! I am assuming it is MIK after finding a similar one on reverb stating it was MIK. The bolt-on neck playe does not say MIJ like my LP. I planned on getting a cheap guitar to upgrade for fun and figured $120 is not much to throw in to start. I am more interested in if the guitars are bad/crappy to play moreso tgan how they sound. Only one way to find out! I will keep you posted on my decision.

Emmsys

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charles
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Re: El-Degas strat copy I am interested in buying

Post by charles » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:16 pm

The pointy headstock Superstrats are all MIK.
Keep us posted!

Emmsys
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Re: El-Degas strat copy I am interested in buying

Post by Emmsys » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:32 pm

So I picked up the El Degas today! $120 with a gig bag too. It is in freakin’ amazing condition aside from very tiny surface scratches on the pick guard and some of the screws are old/dirty. The previous owner is a guitar guy that sets up and cleans guitars professionally so the fretboard looks absolutely brand new and the guitar itself is setup perfectly! Beside a brand new guitar, this one is a 8.9/10.

It is much heavier than my Squier Classic Vibes strat but feels incredibly solid. All of the hardware works perfectly (including the switch for single coil/HB). The tuners are much better than I thought they would be. They are solid and don’t have much of a “deadzone”.

I only got to play it at home for about 10 minutes on my Jetcity JCM22H though. The neck single coil pickup has that Fender sparkle that we all know and love. The middle pickup is less so, but still has a nice clean sound. The HB sounds like a bridge HB but not as sparkly or bright as I hoped. In single-coil it sounds pretty good but I look forward to changing these pickups to see how a cheap guitar can sound with better pickups.

In crunch/distortion, the neck and middle pickups are a but dark/muddy but still better than I expected. The HB has a nice crunch sound at lower gains but becomes a tad buzzy/fizzy at the highest gains (as much because of tge Jetcity as the pickup itself). Honestly, I was hoping it wouldn’t sound perfect otherwise I would need another guitar to be my winter mod project!

As for the feel of the guitar, it plays great! No fret buzzing or cutout anywhere. It does not feel cheap at all. Best $120 I have spent! I am not sure which pickups to put on this El degas yet but will let you know soon. Really happy with how this guitar feels! Here are some pics!

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charles
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Re: El-Degas strat copy I am interested in buying

Post by charles » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:17 am

Glad it worked out - the MIKs get a bad rap but there are some good-uns out there.

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Re: El-Degas strat copy I am interested in buying

Post by Emmsys » Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:30 pm

Hi,

Quick update on my MIK El Degas super strat. I played it for about 45 minutes yesterday and here's what I learned:

- The previous owner set it up almost perfectly. There is no fret buzz whatsoever, the strings have a consistent height and the guitar does not get out of tune at ALL. Not even slightly out of tune. I am new to guitars (have been learning to play for about a year purely as a hobby) and despite my awful bending, the El Degas stays perfectly in tune. Better than any of my other guitars. It really is a solid guitar. My only "complaint" about the setup is that the action is a tad higher than I like.

- The tone/volume knobs feel smooth when turning and are not loose or sticky. I will probably change them out anyway for fun but they don't feel cheap.

- This might sound strange, but I am happy that the humbucker sounds "meh". I always wanted to try Tone Emporium pickups since they are a Canadian company (even if the pups are made offshore) and I like supporting local. The next time they have a 20% off deal I will jump on their strat pickups and replace all 3. I do like the sound of the neck pickup though but I might as well replace all 3 anyway.

- I noticed a couple of tiny chips in the paint that I didn't see before. I guess I can say it is relic'd :lol:

- The neck is "chunky", or at least chunkier than my Squier Classic vibes and noticeably chunkier then my Epiphone Dot. My small hands have an easier time with the Epi-Dot neck but have adapted to the El Degas. I think it is bigger than my El Degas MIJ LP.

I think I got one of the "better" MIK El Degas guitars because there is absolutely nothing wrong with how it feels or plays. Maybe the color combination is not for everyone (less flashy than my other guitars), but it really is fine in every way a hobbyist guitar would need. I think I have the El Degas bug and will snap up more if I see any more in Montreal at good prices! :lol:

Emmsys

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charles
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Re: El-Degas strat copy I am interested in buying

Post by charles » Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:44 pm

Emmsys wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:30 pm
I think I have the El Degas bug and will snap up more if I see any more in Montreal at good prices! :lol:
Uh oh, more competition! :mrgreen: :lol:

Welcome to the ED Club!

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Barry
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Re: El-Degas strat copy I am interested in buying

Post by Barry » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:43 pm

Nothing wrong with that at all! Glad you got one that was well cared for. There are so many nice "off brand" guitars which start out nice but were badly abused. Label snobbery mostly.

I was going to recommend swapping out the tuners for something more substantial, a locking set perhaps. But you say they're working just fine so if it ain't broke...

Electronics are usually where many of these imports come up a bit short, so changing the pups can make quite a difference. Just be sure your humbucker is well balanced with the single coils when it is in coil cut mode. i.e. the HB coil cut output = the centre single coil output

Congrats!

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Re: El-Degas strat copy I am interested in buying

Post by Emmsys » Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:44 pm

Hi,

I finally found a set of pickups to use on the blue El-Degas MIK strat I showed above. I really wanted to replace just the middle pickup and the humbucker, however I found a Neck Suhr ML single coil pickup, and a Suhr SSV humbucker for $70 CAD (for both)! Sweeeeeet. They are worth more than the guitar hehe. BUT it meant replacing the original neck pickup, which I liked, instead of the middle pickup. Also the Suhr pickups are white, while the original pups on the El Degas are black. So I have kind of a zebra SSH-style guitar where the neck pup is white, middle is black, HB is white.

Installing the pickups was somewhat straightforward aside for some tiny hiccups. The Suhr SSV magnet was reversed compared to the original Eldegas one, so we had to open up the pickup to flip the magnet. Also the original humbucker has only 3 wires, meaning the 2 coil-split wires were wired together somewhere inside the pickup, while the Suhr pickup has 4 wires (red/white are for coil splitting). We weren't 100% sure that was the case but it ended up working out. The Suhr humbucker did not come with screws or springs, and unfortunately the original Eldegas screws did not fit in the Suhr's mounting holes. We had to open up the Suhr mounting holes and re-thread them. Soldering the wires was straightforward since we just soldered one wire at a time (i.e. directly replace the original pup wire with the new one before completely removing the original pup). Finally, some of the pick guard mounting screws don't tighten anymore but it's not a big deal. We can fix that later.

We tested the guitar really quickly here at work (colleague and I have a couple of Peavey amps in a room here to play during lunch) and the neck pickup sounds freakin' beautiful. A nice warm Stratocaster sound, The Suhr SSV HB is lower output than the original HB, but is pure classic rock sound. I am not a very good player but I will try to record some sound clips at home through my Jet City and Hotone Heart attack amps. Does anyone know where I can upload the sound clips?

To me, this is proof that it is possible to take a "cheap" guitar and make it sound freakin' amazing. These Suhr pickups came for a $3000+ guitar! I already liked how the Eldegas sounded stock (aside from the middle pickup) but now it sounds serious. I can't wait to test it at home!

Emmsys

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charles
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Re: El-Degas strat copy I am interested in buying

Post by charles » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:31 pm

I always love hearing El Degas stories with happy endings! I'm glad it all worked out.

Emmsys
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Re: El-Degas strat copy I am interested in buying

Post by Emmsys » Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:08 pm

Hi,

I jumped the gun a little! After playing it properly at home, I noticed that when the pickup selector is middle and bumbucker, the sound is really weak, tinny and has no bass. It gets even worse when I split the coil. The magnets of all of the pickups are the correct polarity so after some googling, it could just be that the middle and HB are out of phase. The fix could be as simple as resoldering the ground and hot wires of the HB in reverse. Will keep you posted! On a side note, the Suhr neck pickup is really bright for a neck pickup:l. It lacks a little bass. Really clean and detailed though.

Emmsys

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Barry
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Re: El-Degas strat copy I am interested in buying

Post by Barry » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:44 am

Congrats on the Suhr pickups, they should sound very good indeed.

Yeah, sounds like you've wired the 'bucker out of phase which typically gives a "nasal, bottom-of-a-well" output. Check the Seymour Duncan web site for wiring diagrams for H-S-S configurations.

I mentioned in an earlier post about matching the humbucker's coil-cut mode to the mid pickup's, which should have been OK here since these are part of a matched set. However, I'm wondering if reversing the magnets polarity in the Suhr centre pup was a good idea. l think I'd be inclined to make the ED neck pup fit the other two rather than the other way around. I'd double check that too.

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Re: El-Degas strat copy I am interested in buying

Post by Emmsys » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:35 pm

Hi Guys,

Quick update after some tinkering during our lunch break. I realize the description of my current setup might be confusing since I mentioned what I wanted and what I ended up doing. The ED is setup as follows with the new pickups:

Neck pickup: Suhr ML
Middle pickup: ED
Bridge HB pickup: Suhr SSV

The HB has a Hot (black) wire, green+bare ground wire, and red/white coil split wires. We just tried reversing the hot and ground wires on the HB
(i.e. ground/bare go to selector switch bottom position, and hot goes to back of a pot) but it did not fix the issue when the selector switch selects Middle + HB. All other positions sound great, and the Neck + Middle have hum cancelling.

Regarding the magnet polarity here's what we found when using my coworker's little gadget that has a small magnet in a little plastic pill container and "N" and "S" taped to the top and bottom of the magnet. The magnet will jump and flip itself over based on the pickup's magnet.

The neck Suhr pickup attracts the south side of the magnet.
The middle ED pickup attracts the North side of the magnet.
The top of the HB (closest to the middle pickup) attracts the south side of the magnet.
The bottom (screws) of the HB attract the north side of the magnet.

This is after the magnet was flipped around in the Suhr HB.

The red/white wires of the HB are connected together to one side of the mini-toggle switch. The middle position of the mini-toggle switch is connected to ground. The other side of the mini-toggle switch is not connected to anything. So (on paper), toggling the mini-switch up grounds the red/white wires, and toggling the switch down disconnects the red/white wires from ground (i.e. they are not connected to anything).

When the Hot wire of the HB was connected to the 5-way switch, and the bare/green were grounded, the sound on middle+HB was tinny, nasally and lacked base. Splitting the coils with the mini-toggle switch made it even tinnier and weaker. There was no hum cancelling at all.

When we reversed the hot and ground wires of the HB, the mini-toggle switch does nothing, and the sound is still tinny when playing middle + HB. We left it as-is for now as we ran out of lunch break :oops: . This should be fairly straightforward but it's clear we messed up somewhere. Luckily we are able to flip the pickguard around without having to completely remove the strings 8) .

Anyway, apologies for the long post, I am hoping someone sees what we aren't! Thanks for the tips!

(Edited to correct some spelling mistakes from typing too quickly at work!)

E

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Barry
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Re: El-Degas strat copy I am interested in buying

Post by Barry » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:37 pm

Sounds like you're having fun if nothing else eh? :lol:
The other side of the mini-toggle switch is not connected to anything
I think this may be one of your problems, if not the problem. You haven't grounded the switch.(Suhr wiring colours are the same as SD)
Image

For reference, also have a look at this SD wiring diagram for a typical 'fat' Strat. There's no coil split shown but you can double check your basic wiring:
https://www.seymourduncan.com/wiring-di ... -way-blade

Also have a look at this one from our website detailing Westone's version. The difference from yours is the use of a push-pull volume pot instead of a mini toggle. (disregard the T1 PP for phase reversal). Red is hot:
http://www.westoneguitars.net/fixme/wir ... ectrum-sx/

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